Friday, February 19, 2010

Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus

The Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus is an event reported by all the canonical gospels, in
  • Mark 14:53–65,
  • Matthew 26:57–68,
  • Luke 22:63–71 and
  • John 18:12-24.
After the arrest of Jesus, the gospels report that Jesus was taken to the Sanhedrin, a legal body composed of the chief Sadduccees, Pharisees, and elders (Kilgallen 255). The precise location and nature of the trial varies between the canonical Gospels, and particularly between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John.

In the Synoptics, Jesus is taken to the Sanhedrin, with Matthew adding that the Sanhedrin had assembled where Caiaphas was located, possibly implying that the gathering occurred at the home of Caiaphas.

At the time in which the narrative is set, this body was an ad hoc gathering, rather than a fixed court (Brown 146), as in the latter Council of Jamnia, and its gathering in Caiaphas' home is historically plausible, though irregular. Daniel J. Harrington argues that being located in a home makes it more likely that this was a small first preliminary hearing and not a full trial. According to Rabbinic Judaism, the Sanhedrin of the Pharisees, probably a different sanhedrin, was led by Gamaliel from approximately the year 9 to 50. This is believed to be the same Gamaliel who appears in Acts 5:34 and 22:3. Shammai may have also played a role.


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